This holiday season, entertain with a tip from the pros! Here, the Watergate Hotel’s Michael Deltette, Jonathan G. Willen & Associates’ Jonathan Willen, and Syzygy Events’ Julie Shanklin tell us how they raise the dinner-party bar.
Jonathan Willen: President, Jonathan G. Willen & Associates, 202-265-8001
Design expert Jonathan Willen suggests combining elements from nature with heirloom items to create the perfect, commercial-free Christmas table setting.
Top trend: “Mix natural items with family heirlooms. In a world full of ‘commercial Christmas,’ pull out your old favorites and go outside to find something new: Berries, branches, moss, and flowers mixed with bright glass ornaments make for a stunning display.”
Host gifts: “I attend a lot of holiday parties, and throughout the year I buy several small items for host/hostess gifts. I collect stockings (hint: buy after the holiday for the next year), personalize them with names or initials, and fill them with the wrapped items.”
Favorite DC vendor: “MultiFlor makes it easy to brighten up any space. For catering, Susan Gage—her team always outdoes itself in service.”
Go-to designer: “Kate Spade has wonderful ornaments this year.”
The Watergate Hotel’s Michael Deltette suggests personalizing the place settings at dinner with handpicked items, like Christmas ornaments.
Personal touch: “My husband and I will be hosting Thanksgiving dinner at our home and serving the traditional turkey, Filipino-style, using my own marinade—soy sauce, calamansi juice, garlic, pepper, sugar, and vinegar.”
Top tip: “Planning is year-round. Write down ideas or clip magazine pictures as you get inspired.”
Design trick: “Personalize each place setting—skip the place card for an item that represents the person. I’ve used a shoe Christmas ornament for a friend who has a penchant for shoes. Her husband likes the Washington Nationals, so I used a Bryce Harper bobble head for him. Make your table fun—no need for Waterford and Wedgwood!”
Go-to for last-minute items: “HomeGoods for great table settings.”
A fab party is not complete without… “Good company around good food.”
Syzygy Events principal Julie Shenklin suggests riding the coastal wave this holiday season, using shades of soft blues and grays for a beautifully breezy tablescape.
Top trend: “A metallic combination is stunning. I’m using copper and rose gold. I’m also loving the coastal feel with shades of blues, grays, and soft pastels, kept natural with soft evergreens, natural wood, and elements you can find in nature. Natural green garlands, bulbs of paper whites, and grapevines add beautiful touches.”
Hosting tip: “For seating, place cards are a must for large groups. It’s fun to mix up guests and put them next to people they’ve not yet met.”
A fab holiday party is not complete without… “Wonderful friends. Sometimes a smaller group is the best party, and you can really splurge on every detail of your tables and menus.”